MERCEDES-BENZ C250 AVANT­GARDE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

No prize for pick­ing there’s a price/fea­ture war be­tween Merc and BMW. The win­ner is you. New C-Class is a gem and coun­ters the well-equipped 328i. Sim­i­lar equip­ment — satnav, high-end audio, leather and so on — make the contest dif­fi­cult, as does the same ser­vic­ing po­si­tion and three-year re­sale value. You could also buy the C200 and save $8K.

DE­SIGN

Looks a tad like the pre­vi­ous model un­til you put them along­side each other. New model is an ab­so­lute rip­per, pinch­ing style lines from the big­ger E and S-Class range to boost its pres­tige. Cabin is far sim­pler than be­fore though right-side gear shifter needs fa­mil­iari­sa­tion. Boot is 480 litres.

TECH­NOL­OGY

As with BMW, Merc finds econ­omy and per­for­mance in a turbo petrol four. The 2.0’s out­puts are de­cent (155kW/350Nm), its 0-100km/h sprint takes 6.6secs and it av­er­ages 6.0L/100km. The seven-speed au­to­matic sends power to the rear wheels. All phys­i­cal di­men­sions are within a whisker of the BMW. Wheels are odd-sized (nar­rower tyres at the front).

SAFETY

Top-shelf stan­dards here with all the so­phis­ti­cated stuff to match the BMW but adding LED head­lights and day­time run­ning lights, three more airbags (to­talling nine) and blind-spot sen­sor. No spare wheel but there is a tyre-pres­sure mon­i­tor. Park sen­sors and rear cam­era make light work of park­ing.

DRIV­ING

I felt more cramped be­hind the wheel of this com­pared with the BMW. But the Merc is still com­fort­able, with a more com­pli­ant ride than its ri­val. The en­gine is also a bit harsher than one would ex­pect, though un­der way it’s will­ing and smooth. Hav­ing one fewer cog in the gear­box makes no dif­fer­ence to per­for­mance, though the less-stressed en­gine isn’t as perky.

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